Hawkhead Centre volunteer shortlisted in Scottish Charity Awards 2020

Press Release | 14/08/2020

A volunteer at Scottish War Blinded’s Hawkhead Centre in Paisley has been recognised in this year’s Scottish Charity Awards shortlist.


Michael McAllister has been volunteering as an art tutor at the charity’s activity hub for veterans with sight loss since 2018.  


Run annually by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Scottish Charity Awards celebrate the best of Scotland’s voluntary sector.


This year’s shortlist includes 45 individuals and organisations from charities and voluntary groups across the country. While a judging panel will determine the winners under eight distinct categories, members of the public can have their say by voting for their favourite overall entry in the People’s Choice Award – by visiting scvo.org.uk/vote – before 5pm on Friday 4 September 2020.

Michael McAllister in the Hawkhead Centre art room


Michael McAllister has been recognised as a finalist in the Charity Champion category, and Scottish War Blinded are encouraging people in the community to vote for him in the People’s Choice Award.


Michael, from East Kilbride, said: “I’m so surprised and delighted to have been shortlisted for the award. Volunteering as an art tutor for Scottish War Blinded is a dream role for me. As a registered blind artist myself, I am familiar with many of the challenges faced by people who want to stay creative after sight loss. Helping them to surmount these challenges and produce unique and expressive work is so rewarding. We have a thriving creative community at the Hawkhead Centre and I am so proud to be a part of it.”


Gillian McDonald, Hawkhead Centre Manager, said:  “Michael shows the Scottish War Blinded veterans that so much is possible in spite of sight loss. As our volunteer art tutor he constantly inspires and empowers our members to try new creative hobbies and learn new artistic skills. His caring, pragmatic tutoring and dedication to supporting our members has had a huge impact on many individuals, helping them to re-find their self-confidence and new passions through art.


“All of us at Scottish War Blinded are so pleased that Michael has been shortlisted for the Charity Champion Award. We are very proud of him and extremely grateful for his transformational work as a volunteer with the Hawkhead Centre team. We hope that members of the Paisley community may also feel compelled to vote for Michael in the People’s Choice Award.”


The Hawkhead Centre is currently closed in line with Scottish Government guidelines due to the coronavirus pandemic, however staff have continued to support Scottish War Blinded veterans remotely throughout lockdown.


The full list of finalists can be found on the SCA website. Due to the impact of coronavirus, this year the Awards will run a little differently. Winners will be announced on 25 September (rescheduled from June) and will now take place online so that all finalists and attendees who wish to attend are still able to join the celebrations in a safe way, regardless of lockdown phase or shielding status.


Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive of SCVO, said: “Much of the work celebrated this year predates the pandemic. All aspects of our lives have been disrupted in 2020. Our communities and the charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises they rely on have been under enormous pressure. Scotland’s voluntary sector has never been more needed and will be essential to Scotland’s recovery. At SCVO we know that fantastic work is going on all the time and we are delighted to celebrate these achievements and successes through the Scottish Charity Awards.


“This year’s shortlist of 45 finalists showcases just how diverse our voluntary sector is, and highlights the fantastic work that has been going on across the country since the last Awards until March this year. The Awards are a great way of celebrating and recognising the people and organisations who make our voluntary sector a crucial part of every part of life in Scotland. Our finalists are fantastic and I would encourage everyone to support their favourite by voting in the People’s Choice Award.”